How to make pastrami
Beef,  Game Day,  Meat,  Smoker

Easy Pastrami Recipe

I’m making an attempt at purging my freezer in the basement so that we can get it cleaned out and thawed. On my way to doing that, I came across some corned beef that I wanted to use up. My initial thoughts are always to make corned beef hash, as I really do like corned beef hash, but then I decided to make an easy pastrami. I love a good pastrami sandwich, so I figured why not take my spin on an easy pastrami recipe. To say the least, it was dynamite!

Easy Pastrami Recipe

Now you can go a bunch of different direction with this and make your own spice blends, and brine it if you want to, but the brisket was already brined, so I went with just a lot of cracked black pepper. Again, super simple, and extremely delicious.

Let’s get started.


  • 3-4 pound corned beef brisket
  • Black pepper, enough to generously coat the corned beef
  • Smoker

Start by rinsing the corned beef with cold water. Pat dry.

Cover the corned beef with black pepper. I used some great pepper I purchased from the Milwaukee Spice House. Once the corned beef is rubbed, cover and place in the refrigerator for 3 days.

Homemade Pastrami Recipe

Next is the smoke. Prepare your smoker, and get it going to about 225 degrees. You can probably go with your favorite wood, and in this case I used apple wood chunks. Smoke the brisket, fat side up, for about 4 hours, then continue cooking for about another 4 hours. You want the internal temperature to be about 180 degrees.

How to make pastrami

Remove it from the smoker, and place it into a large pot to let rest, and cool. Once cooled place it in the refrigerator overnight. The following day, place the corned beef onto a steamer rack, adding water to the bottom of the pan, and cover. I used my Chinese steamer for this. If you do not have one, just add it to a wire rack on a large baking sheet and cover with aluminum foil, and steam for about 2 more hours, adding additional water when needed. Just make sure the water does not come in contact with the corned beef.

Remove, and slice.

I cannot tell you how awesome this was, and trust me, it did not last long. My boys loved it, and I was already in heaven. I served it onto a sandwich, slathering a bit of Dijon mustard on it.  I wish I would have made about twice as much!

It is a process, but it is well worth the time and effort. Hope you enjoy!

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